I’ve always been one of those eco-conscious moms. I’m sure at times it drives my husband crazy, but I have found ways to make sure my family is doing their part in protecting the earth and marine life without it being any more difficult for them. We do everything from cloth diapering to cloth napkins, now I know it isn’t realistic to expect that every person is going to be willing or able to cloth diaper. But the good thing about it is that you don’t have to be all or nothing when it comes to doing your part, so I’ve rounded up 10 easy ways that you can live a greener life. And an extra special bonus is that most of these will save you money in the long run!
This is probably the easiest of all of them. The next time you are at the register, ask for your receipt to be emailed rather than printed. Nearly all utilities companies want to save money and will offer you paperless billing, do it! Have you recently noticed how many useless pieces of paper a single bill comes on?! Plus I find that it is a lot easier to keep track of receipts electronically and separate them into their own folders on my computer or in my email.
I don’t just mean grocery bags, although this is also a great one. I mean those pesky and expensive ziplock bags. Instead, invest in some nice reusable ziplocks. This one will save you money in the long run! There are a few companies that I personally love. If you are not familiar with Grove Collaborative, they are an eco-friendly household essentials site. If you make a purchase of $20 or more on your first order you will receive a large full size set of cleaning products (such as Mrs. Meyers and Method!) They offer many brands as well as their brand in different products. The reusable snack backs are great for storing snacks and leftovers in the fridge, for packing your lunch and anything else you can think of. Be sure to double check that the ones you purchase are microwave safe, if so BONUS this means you can also steam veggies in them!
Rather than buying tons and tons of new clothes that your kids will outgrow in a couple of months, checkout sites such as Poshmark, Kidizen, and Mercari. Not only will you be saving yourself some money but you will also be helping someone else out and keeping loads of clothing from hitting the landfills! You may also want to consider purchasing your new clothing from companies labeled as Slow Clothing, but this is a topic for an entire separate article.
We as humans use tons and tons of single use items, this means buying the same items over and over and throwing out the old ones time and time again. Fortunately we do have alternatives. How many razors have you personally discarded this year? Have you ever heard of a straight razor? If this is too intimidating for you, check out my personal favorite, the safety razor. A safety razor is like a cross between a regular razor and a straight razor. The best part is that the blades are relatively inexpensive and it’s easy to use. This will save you money and save the earth from more plastic waste.
The next time you go to Starbucks do me a favor, bring your own refillable cup! Thing about how many plastic/styrofoam/paper cups you go through in a single week, now multiply that by a year, now multiply that by the billions of people doing the same. It’s terrifying to think about! *WARNING* Due to the pandemic, Starbucks is not currently allowing customers to bring their own refillable cups to their cafes. Here is an additional eco-conscious tip, keep a reusable silicon straw in your purse or on your keys as plastic straws are one of the few plastic items that cannot be recycled.
Shop in Bulk
Stop purchasing individually packaged foods and toiletries. Places like Sams Club and Costco are great for shopping in bulk. The larger pack of toilet paper you purchase, the less wrapping from all the individual rolls. Buying gallons of water instead of all of those individual plastic bottles. Little things like this are not only better for the environment but also your pocket book. You may also want to look into package free options such as bar shampoo from places like Lush Cosmetics or stores which allow you to bring your own container to fill with things such as coffee beans, etc.
This one may seem a bit strange to those who aren’t aware, but switching to bamboo can make a huge impact. Bamboo is a great option, it’s sturdy and will last you much longer minimizing frequent replacements and is very sustainable. Bamboo regenerates from it’s own roots and requires much less than cotton to grow.
This one is great not only for the environment but also for your pocket book. The next time you leave a room, turn off all lights, tvs, and other plug ins that do not need to remain on. Do you really need that light on or will opening a shade provide the light needed? What about that fan? Is it necessary, or would a nice breeze from an open window do?
Compact Fluorescent Light Bulbs
The next time one of your light bulbs burns out, replace it with a CFL bulb. These lightbulbs are more eco-friendly as they last more than 5x longer and use less electricity than regular light bulbs.
Wood toys are a great way to be both eco-friendly and promote imaginative play. Swapping out obnoxious electronic toys for wood alternatives is a more durable, eco friendly, and educational way for your children to play. There are so many beautiful wood toy companies out there and one of my personal favorites is Manhattan Toys. Both of my kids love them and they are toys that can be passed on to future siblings or friends.